Sunday, November 29, 2009

Bingo's Big Adventure

From behind these bars I can touch the outdoors. I have been locked inside for an eternity since moving to this new place. How I have longed to breath the fresh country air, roll in the dirt and get mud on my paws! Oh, the wonderful taste of dead plant leaves. Joy oh joy, I am a blessed cat...

Wait, there appears to be a gate I can walk through and there are steps descending to the land of happiness. Let me pause, ponder, and assess the situation. Open land before me, no dogs. Hmm. This is too good to be true.

There is a large white thing with black circles in front of me. Maybe I should give it a good long sniff to find out just what has been here before me. I should also climb it. We cats like to climb stuff even when we are not supposed to. How can I leave a vehicle without putting my dainty paw prints on it. Believe me, they don't leave that lesson out at kitty academy. In fact, I got extra credit in car window painting.

Wait! I see trouble. It's big, it's orange, and it's full of teeth and claws. I KNEW this was too good to be true. Maybe I should run. No, I'll just bide my kitty time.

See! It's Jimmy the cat. He hunches his back and sulks toward me. I think he wants to kick my ass. I hope not. I am just a kitten after all.

An amicable greeting! Yeah! He does not want to kill me. This is progress.

Good enough, I must be off to bigger and better things. I am an adventurer today. I am Top Spaz and must keep moving. I see stuff I need to do around this place.

Like scaling the tree in squirrel position. Lesson two at kitty academy was climbing trees. I got an A on my final. I wonder if the chickens can do this. Naw.

I've been stalking them with little success. They are so flinchy and move fast it makes me excited. I LIKE THEM. But, they are bigger than me and I think they might peck me really hard if I attacked.

Oh the lofty view from this tree is awesome!! Cat heaven. Stick me with a claw, I am done. What else is there to do now that I have scaled this tree???

Oh, I see something peeking at me with a beady little eye from behind the bushes. It has been stalking me. Or rather, aggressively following me. I don't think he likes me near his hens. I never learned about these animals in class. Or, maybe I was napping during that lecture...

It's the rooster, Mr D. He makes sure to keep close tabs on my location, since he's on to my hankering for a hen. I just know they'd taste really good and those feathers in my mouth would get me in a frenzy.

So, he keeps himself between me and the pretty feathered ones. Drat!

Now I see the Tall Lady. Hey Mom, do you think I can come home now? I'm really tired.

I am tuckered out with this adventuring stuff. It is simply too much of a good thing. Time to find my favorite blanket and get some zzzzzzzz's.

Bye for now!

To see the kids book with expanded photos click the icon below! This story is available for sale in a 10x8 hardback and softback!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Gobble Gobble! Happy Thanksgiving to All!

"Bwak, Bwak, Bwaaaakkkk!!!

Ladies, I am sure glad we're not turkeys...."

"It matters NOT you silly hens!! I am immune to the hatchet. I AM A PET!!! I'd watch your back were I you, CHICKENS!!"

Tilly Turkey has spoken and she is just GORGEOUS!!!

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!!!!

Saturday, November 21, 2009

It's a House Party, Sort Of.

You would never guess it, but there is a party-loving beast occupying this tree. It is the smallest party-goer, but is the first to arrive and last to leave.

Did you find it? This may be just too easy. He's at the center of the photo if you did not find him.

I take it for granted that these frisky little birds are here year round battling to be king and queen of the heap. These Anna's hummingbirds are resident warriors always ready for the next adventure in nectar sampling.

"Excuse me while I scratch my arm pit..."

The humming birds fly a route around our house going door to door at their favorite taverns. I think they are a bunch of bar hopping floozies and drunken sailors buzzing around my house, shaking and quivering from an overdose on Salvia and Zauschneria nectar.

They are frequently found on the mulberry trees at the north of my house where where they quietly perch for a few moments in between getting their next fix. Actually, this perch is defensive location from which a humming bird can attack any other humming bird that dares to enter his mini-bar. I guess you could call him a mini-bouncer guarding the door.

He watches over his favorite beverages tenaciously, dive bombing those others who dare to enter his private drinking establishment.

These are the "Purple Hooters" that he is guarding...(That's a mixed drink folks. This is a family blog after all.)

From the tree, he stares at this bush located about 20 feet away. At this Mexican sage, two and three humming birds have been seen having bar fights over drinks of nectar. Some how I need to get a picture of them all here simultaneously.

I was able to approach this perch site without this big guy flying away. You can see the flecks of fuchsia on his throat and on the top of his head. I really need a picture of him showing off his bright feathers but was not lucky during the photo shoot. They can fluff up and display their bright colors when angry or displaying in defense of their territory.

To take these pictures, I stalked the humming birds for about three loops around the drinking circuit. So, I probably should have been doing laundry or some other menial task, but I was showing Wyatt what these birds were up to; therefore, I categorized this under "educational" work.

We walked around the loop and I showed my son each plant that the hummingbirds were visiting. Keeping with my "bar" theme, I think this is the nightclub where the birds get "Bloody Mary's." It's California fuchsia (Zauschneria californica). And NO I did not tell Wyatt that...I mean I am a good mommy after all.

And I think the Pink Flamingo's are slurped down here where the autumn sage (Salvia gregii) grows in profusion.

With a bunch of rowdy drunks buzzing around my house, I can't help but feel a little like the house mother yelling at the frat boys to keep it down. But they never listen anyway.

After all, they always have a look of defiance on their birdy mugs...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Random Tuesday Thoughts-How Bird Poop, Kittens, Thumbs and Aliens are Affecting My Life.

Welcome to the post that contains the catch-all basket of oddities which have collected in my house during the past week, otherwise known as Random Tuesday Thoughts as hosted by Keely, The Un Mom.

Unfinished "Business":
No body knew exactly what this picture showed from my last post. Actually, not many people guessed at it.

Maybe it's a sad indication of my interests that I am almost proud to know why all that white coloring occurs on the plants. My knowledge base is just an occupational hazard it seems. I am a biologist after all.

This area is about 6 x 10 feet. There is a large branch hanging over this site about 60 feet in the air.

Let's just say you'd not want to stand beneath that tree at night. If you did you would suffer the wrath of whitewash from the egret who roosts there. Splat...

Please don't run now. Trust me, this post gets better. I think... Maybe.

More important stuff: The new kitty follows the mouse across the screen in hunting mode. His big kitty paws get all jumpy and he stands on the computer screen trying to eat the arrow. He's all bloggy like that!

Bingo has settled into our house like he was born into our strange society. BUT, he has a volatile organic compound factory within his body. At the moment, he resembles a skunk with his room clearing farting ability.

Why must cats sleep as close to your face as possible? This is dangerous territory with the gaseous explosions escaping without warning. Bingo would sleep ON your FACE if he was allowed.

This photo demonstrates the strange balance in karmic energy for my dearest husband, Mike. What he provides in punishment (Starbucks for Unsalted Butter...) to others ME he gets back in itchy cat hairs attached to his beard stubble.

On That Note: Wyatt (the Kindergartner) knows how to write the word "FART." By. Him. Self. The world is coming to an end.

While on the Subject of Wyatt: WHEN is THIS going to end? I'd be happy with the end of thumb sucking any day now. My parental training skills are definitely lacking in this department. Suggestions? Hot pepper sauce on the thumb? Bitter Apple spray like you use on dogs? I am open to any thing at this point.

My salvation is that he ONLY sucks his thumb when holding those blankets. And he can't sleep without the blankets. Oh, what's a Mom to do? I see 10K in braces in our future.

Something Personal: I love the walk-in refrigerator at Costco. I could spend a hour breathing the cold misty air. I will walk circles in there for ten minutes if allowed. Ella breaks my trance telling me, "I am COLD, Maw-Maw!!!!" I always forget to bring her parka.

The Aliens Have Landed: Last week I was awoken by a strange humming sound coming from the back of the property. Softly flashing lights were blinking over the horses pasture and a pulsing glow radiated into my kitchen. The moon was not yet up, so I could not blame this strange lighting on natural celestial objects.

"Oh crap," I thought. "Now the aliens are landing here. Just great..."

I moved up to the window pane to inspect more closely and I could discern a saucer shaped object hovering over the horses. It was complete with a clear shiny dome and I could see the small greenish-blue humanoids opening the hatch.

I kept thinking that I really didn't need additional complications in my life and this was not good timing for an alien abduction. Can't they just bother someone else? Maybe the horses would kick them. At that point, I figured I'd better just go back to bed. And so I did.

When I went outside in the morning, I could see why they came to our house. They needed to practice their crop circles and they actually made some designs on my horse. I was kind of needing to clip the horses anyway, so after staring in disbelief for a few seconds, I was all, "SCORE!!!! Less work for me! Thank You Aliens!"

No, no, no!!!! Sharpie is TOTALLY LYING!!! I don't care what that horse says. I had NOTHING to do with that hideous clip job. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

More Proof The Aliens Were Here: On the night the aliens visited, I know they sent telepathic thoughts to my daughter as well. The proof is in the photo. The next day in the kitchen, when I turned from my occupation as vegetable chopper, pot stirrer, and food tender, I was astonished to see Ella making crop circles with the new package of underwear that we had bought her.

She was so proud it was unbelievable.

But, I think the message from the aliens was clearly written, "If you keep going into the refrigerator you will never fit in smaller sized underwear."

On that note. I am O.U.T.

Gotta check in with the supreme leader now...

Saturday, November 14, 2009

A Day of Natural Bridges and Nature

We made it to the beach this week to see the hole in this rock at Natural Bridges State Park near Santa Cruz, California. Seriously, I was not so impressed with this doughnut in the sandstone for some reason. What do you think?

I did like seeing the comradeship shown by the three birds sitting on the bare rock. I love that in the animal world there is none of the fighting over land like we humans seem to find necessary. This brown pelican, cormorant and seagull can all share and the world is still spinning on it's axis.

The heavy bomber-like bodies of the brown pelicans gliding over the shoreline brought no threat of confrontation. Just peaceful thoughts and noises.

And, the sounds of children digging in the sand were barely audible over the churning of the waves against the land.

The strands of seaweed provided botany education for Ella. She wanted to know what the bladders were at the end of the strands. The little balloon-like pods filled with air allow the seaweed to float in the ocean providing buoyancy in the surf.

Then we walked away from the shoreline to visit a grove of eucalyptus trees.

These non-native invasive plant species have taken over acres of land in California. But amazingly something good happened along the way.

There is something in this tree. Can you see it???? Look very closely before scrolling down.

Did you find them? Here's a hint: They float through the air like liquid butter.

Monarchs! Thousands of monarch butterflies winter in the eucalyptus trees at this beach. This particular grove of trees is slightly sheltered by the shallow drainage they occur in which provides protection from the wind.

Here is a mature eucalyptus being climbed by English ivy (another non-native WEED). However, the monarchs actually feed on the ivy nectar. But the ivy will eventually kill the eucalyptus trees.

The monarchs gather in clusters on dangling branches in the mid canopy of these trees. They sleep in groups for warmth until spring comes and they fly away to lay eggs on milkweeds plants throughout the coast and inland. Then they die. Their whole life cycle is about six to eight months.

Finally, do you know what this picture shows below? I will follow up with the answer next time.

Have a great weekend folks!!! I need to make visits to all my friends in blogland. It's been a full week...

Monday, November 9, 2009

B-I-N-G-O and Bingo was his Name-O...

Over the week end I went to the pet store to pick up some cat supplies in town. Ella and I went into the "mega" pet store and made the tour around the place, looking at the turtles swimming in the tank, the fish, the birds and completed our circuit near the front of the store.

Near the exit door they have the pet fair area. Why do they place the pet adoption area here?? Because you see it on the way out the door and stop for a visit before leaving. They have this all figured out you see.

We walked in to the cat area where there are multi-levels cages for the kittens to jump around in. Ella and I were chatting and looking at the cats talking about their colors and such when a man came in and called out to the adoption volunteer coordinator. The man was separated from the cat area by a short wall separating the exit from the cattery. The woman did not hear him. She was busy with her head turned the other direction.

Since I was standing right there, I noticed he had a carrier he wanted to hand off to the woman in charge of adoptions. I told him I'd give it to her.

Picking up the carrier I immediately noticed the hefty weight inside. These are supposed to be teenage cats I thought to myself. All the other cats on display for adoption were about five or six months old.


I took the carrier to the other side of the cat fair area to see what was inside the box. When I looked in through the metal grill there was a gray tabby face staring boldly up at me.

I caught my breath a little since he looked very much like a cat I had about 10 years ago named Beanie. Beanie died from lymphoma.

Tears started to well up in my eyes with the memory of Beanie and the freshness of loosing Shmobie. Both of these cats were dear to me. They were both big boy cats with lanky bodies and bold and affectionate personalities. They both were my lap cats.

Letting this large kitty out of the carrier I noticed his gorgeous spots and stripes. I am partial to tabby's and he was just my kind of cat; with a tall frame, long limbs, giant ears and friendly personality I wanted to take him home immediately.

I did not really come to the pet store with the intention of adopting a new cat. In fact, I called Mike and he told me, "Don't do it! We can do without another cat..."

So I told the woman there if the striped tabby was still there at the end of the day I would adopt him. I figured I would let fate be my guide. is Bingo. No one wanted him so he is ours now.

Sitting by the window seems to be a luxury to him.

He likes the kids too. Ella came up with his name. I simply asked what we should call the new kitty and she told me, "BINGO!!" So Bingo it is.

Bingo says, "Hey Ella! Come over here please!!!"

Bingo does have one little habit that needs breaking. Can you guess what it is? Well, he likes to ride on your shoulders. However, he is a wee bit to big to do this now.

But I am happy no one else wanted him. He has already made himself at home and fits in the menagerie with amazing adaptability. His happy little body makes smiles where ever he goes.

The Day the Swallows Came Home

The tree swallows are here already.  They arrived January 30 much to my dismay.  Swooping and calling and chirping their merry song over my ...